How to prune a cherry tree in australia

How to Prune a Cherry Tree

February 26th, 2021 Fantastic Team Growing Food

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Cherries differ in tree species, sweetness, texture, taste and level of maturity. Growing them in your backyard isn’t easy. They need a cool climate, regular pruning, and proper maintenance. Knowing how to prune a cherry tree in Australia and anywhere else has many benefits. Shaping, survival, stimulating growth, easier harvesting, and increased yield are a few.

Here you will learn how to prune a cherry tree in Australia, where there are over 80 species of the sweet, sour, multi-graft, hybrid, and other varieties.

In this article:

  • Different cherry species – choose the one for you
  • How to prune a cherry tree
    • How to prune a cherry tree sapling
    • Dwarf cherry tree pruning tips
  • When to prune your cherry tree
  • Takeaways

Different cherry species – choose the one for you

Sweet cherry trees

The sweet cherries include the species:

  • Lapin – available from the middle of December to January, with a heart shape, dark red skin, and firm flesh in golden-red. Lapins are suitable for consuming fresh and preserved.
  • Bing – has heart-shaped fruit, a pleasant flavour, and lustrous and dark red skin.
  • Napoleon – has large fruit, light yellow skin with pink blush on it and a sweet flavour. Napoleon cherries are very productive, beautifully ornamented, and fruit in December.
  • Stella – yields fruit from the middle of December, medium to large in size and heart-shaped. The flesh is dark red, firm, and very sweet.
  • Sweetheart – a late variety developed in recent years. The fruit has a medium size and bright red skin with deep and sweet flesh.
  • Van – medium to large in size, deep red skin and flesh, sweet and rich flavour. It can’t be stored for long and should be consumed immediately after buying.

Besides the above, there are many other sweet cherry species spread around Australia.

Sour cherry trees

The sour cherry trees include:

  • Morello – this classic cherry variety comes in a small to medium size and has dark skin and flesh. It is commonly used in baking and pastries.
  • Sam – has large fruit with black skin and red flesh. The flavour is mildly tart and rich. Sam cherry trees are available from mid to late December.

Hybrid cherries

Hybrid cherries are perfect for growing in smaller soil areas or in containers and pots, as many of them are semi-dwarfs. They reach a little over half the size of a full-sized adult cherry tree. Semi-dwarfs are often grafted on a dwarfing rootstock.

How to prune a cherry tree

Every gardener wants their trees to yield fruit abundantly and be healthy for years. This requires the proper knowledge and skills on how to prune a cherry tree and when to do it.

Cherry trees need pruning after the framework and regularly during growth. Sweet cherry trees reach up to 10m in height, with a 5-6m spread if left unpruned, while sour species are much smaller and bushier, reaching 4m in height. When kept in orchards, cherry trees are maintained significantly smaller.

What you will need:

  • A hand pruner
  • Long-handled lopping shears
  • A pruning saw
  • Sharpeners for the instruments
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Bleach and water
  • A stepladder

There are several ways to prune a cherry tree, like the Spanish bush method. The process involves:

  1. Sterilise and sharpen your pruning shears to avoid subjecting the tree to diseases. Make a bleach solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water. Dip, rinse the shears with hot water and dry them with a clean towel.
  2. Prune back 30 cm above the graft after you plant the tree or in the first summer. They will grow 4 to 6 leaders the following year.
  3. Prune back the leaders 30 cm above the previous year’s cutting point the next February.
  4. The following season, repeat step 2 to reduce the speed of growth. The tree will grow small with thin branches.

After following the above steps, in 3 years you should have 15 to 20 leaders, each with many fruiting spurs thanks to the cropping. The cherry tree will become smaller, easily netted and harvested.

Pro tip: Cherry tree fruits on the ends of short spurs, which annually blossom in flowers. Protect the tree’s fruiting spurs when harvesting, always picking off the cherries and leaving the stem intact. Be careful not to break the fruiting spurs. Prune cherry trees in a bevelled way. Remove any dead growth and branches.

How to prune a cherry tree sapling

Young cherry trees usually have 2 strong long branches that need to be cut to 500 mm in size, or a bit longer if planted while dormant. Here is how to prune a cherry tree sapling after sterilising and sharpening your tools:

  1. Head the tree at 60 to 75 cm at a 45-degree angle. Do this late in the winter or early spring, after planting and before the buds mature.
  2. Choose 3 or 4 scaffold or main branches after planting in the next winter dormant period. Select limbs and branches growing at a 45 to 60-degree angle, with a 15 to 22 cm distance between them. Prune all other limbs at the base where they connect to the trunk.
  3. Cut scaffold branches back to 60 cm to stimulate lateral or secondary branching in the summer. Cut at about half a centimetre above an outward bud at a sloping angle away from the bud.
  4. Keep 3 to 4 main branches each year at a distance of 45 to 60 cm under the previous scaffold whorl. Head the new primary branches back to 75 cm for rapid bud growth.
  5. Choose 2 healthy secondary branches per primary branch. Cut the others from the base. Head the rest of the secondary branches to 60 cm from their point of contact with the primaries to stimulate the growth of tertiary branches.
  6. Remove damaged and dead branches or waterspouts after the third season to let the tree grow fully and bear fruit.

Now that you know the basics of how to prune a cherry tree sapling, you can follow these steps.

How to prune a mature cherry tree

After the cherry tree becomes 3-year-old, prune its new vertical limbs with saws or loppers to stimulate outward growth.

To learn how to prune a mature cherry tree, follow these instructions:

  1. Clear diseased limbs and dead fruit. Reduce the length of any suckers, cutting them at the tree base. Remove crossed branches.
  2. Remove all discarded branches and remnants from your work. These can make the tree prone to disease.
  3. Protect the tree from disease and infections, decay organisms or insects. Cover all the cuts you have made with a tree sealant.

Pro tip: Learning how to prune a mature cherry tree is not that hard. The trial and error method will give you a lot of valuable practical experience.

Dwarf cherry tree pruning tips

If you provide proper care for your dwarf cherry tree, it will give you plenty of fruit. Here are some helpful tips you can apply:

  • Disinfect the garden loppers and pruning shears with rubbing alcohol to avoid the spread of disease and fungus across trees.
  • Prune the lower extremities of the tree. Cut back the branches 7 to 10 cm until the tree becomes round and even.
  • Prune higher and larger limbs with garden loppers at the upperparts and centre of the tree using a stepladder. Start with the lower extremities and move to the larger and higher limbs.
  • Remove suckers (small shoots growing from the main trunk or around the tree base) from the tree base with pruning shears.
  • Clear all clippings, since they can kill the grass and plants under them.

Pro tip: Aim for making the branches perpendicular to the main trunk and tie branches if you can.

When to prune your cherry tree

The most appropriate time to prune cherry trees and dwarf ones is in the late winter when they are dormant. Avoid doing this in the summer. Dormant pruning is an aggressive procedure. Sweet cherries, however, are more prone to bacterial and fungal infections in the winter. You should prune them minimally in the late summer using thinning cuts. Young cherry trees are best shaped in the early spring before they blossom.


  • Cherry trees (that aren’t sweet species) should be pruned late in the winter when dormant.
  • Sterilise and sharpen your tools before every use on each new tree.
  • Young cherry trees need to be pruned in an open, vase-like shape to let light and air reach them. When done properly, the trees bloom and fruit more abundantly.
  • Once you establish the framework branches, the trees need scarce pruning. Remove broken and obstructing branches.
  • Dwarf cherry trees should be cut in a round shape. Their branches need to be perpendicular to the main trunk if possible.

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How To Prune A Cherry Tree | Cherry Tree Pruning Australia 

All fruiting trees will need to be pruned throughout their life and cherry trees are no exception to this rule. Whether they are sweet or sour, knowing exactly how and when to prune a cherry tree, and the correct method that should be used are incredibly valuable tools to have. For example, if you want to have a cherry tree that will provide the maximum fruit production, one that is easy to harvest, care for, and is aesthetically stunning, then you will need to prune your tree properly. When left to its own devices, fruiting and harvest might not be optimum. The question is though, what are the proper methods for pruning a cherry tree? What do you need to do to get the best possible results with yours?  When is the best time to prune cherry trees in Australia? Let’s find out!  

How Do You Prune A Cherry Tree? 

First things first, you’ll need the correct tools to trim your cherry tree. It’s all very well knowing how, if you don’t have the tools to carry out the correct methods. First, you’ll need a hand pruner, a long-handled lopping shears, and a pruning saw.  

The primary task in cherry tree pruning care is sterilizing your pruning tools. This is the best way of preventing the spread of disease from one plant to another. The last thing you want is a cherry tree that is struggling with an unknown ailment because you failed to sterilize your tools! The process is simple: wipe the blades down with alcohol and a rag or mix a solution of 9/1 bleach & water, then rinse and clean with water and dry.  

Young cherry trees will need to be pruned in an open vase-like shape, allowing plenty of light and air penetration, thus increasing the number of blooms and an abundance of fruit.  

  • First of all, you’ll want to cut the suckers off the trunk. 
  • Remove any shoots from limbs that point towards the trunk.  
  • Cutaway any weak branches (these shoots and branches are rather pointless and are quite simply a sap on energy).  
  • Cutting these away increases air circulation.  
  • Cut the suckers outside of the branch collar (the raised area where the stem meets the trunk of the tree). 
  • Cutaway anyway obviously dead, dying, or diseased/broken branches. 
  • Only ‘head’ the cherry tree in fall or winter (heading cut is removing a part of a shoot, limb, or branch, up to one third / ½ of its length). – Heading in the spring will mean that you are lopping off developed buds with potential fruit, so avoid if possible.  
  • Heading within the first year or two of the cherry tree’s life allows you to better control the tree’s shape.  
  • Ensure that the cherry tree sapling is well over 30 inches tall before you head it.  
  • When heading the tree, make a 45-degree angle cut to the leader, leaving the tree at around 24-36 inches in height.  
  • In the following year, you want to create a ‘scaffold whorl’, which is basically a set of 4 lateral branches that extend out from the tree, providing a solid stricter (choose four healthy and sturdy branches to keep and prune out the others).   
  • For these 4 limbs, you want them to be at a 45-60-degree angle from the leader and at least 8 inches apart vertically, from the lowest branch.  
  • Next, you want to cut those four scaffold branches back to at least 24 inches, using ¼ inch angled cuts above the buds.  
  • Continue with this process, and then create an additional scaffold in the following year, some 2 feet above the first. Repeat the above process to create the second scaffold.  

Understandably, there is a lot of information here that makes the process feel a little overwhelming. If you feel as though you cannot be bothered with it, or you are worried that you might mess it up, remember that you can find a reliable tree pruning specialist to take care of it on your behalf instead.    

What Is The Best Time To Prune Cherry Trees In Australia? 

The best time to prune a cherry tree in Australia is during the winter when the tree is dormant. That said, cutting sweet cherries is an exception to this rule of thumb. This is because sweet cherry trees tend to be more prone to fungal and bacterial diseases, especially when their limbs have recently been cut back. Thus, it is best to prune a sweet cherry tree in the late summer.  

Bear in mind that summer pruning will reduce the tree’s energy for fruit production, including its growth, so pruning should be minimal, using only thinning cuts (a thinning cut removes an entire limb, shoot, or branch, up to the point of its origin, thus opening up the canopy).  

Dormant pruning on the other hand is more aggressive. When a larger portion of the tree is removed during this dormant season, the tree’s energy reserves will remain unchanged. The timing is critical. You should begin pruning as later into winter as possible to avoid causing unnecessary damage to the tree. Sour and weeping cherry trees can be pruned at this time, once the risk of winter frost has subsided.  

Early spring is also an ideal time to prune young cherry trees. You want to begin pruning as young buds emerge. However, you should wait until the extreme cold temperatures have passed, as younger trees are much more susceptible to injury during these times.  

How To Trim A Cherry Tree 

How to trim a cherry tree? Trimming cherry trees is similar to pruning, it really depends on your reason for doing so. If you simply wish to reduce its size, then you can follow similar steps to pruning, however, be certain not to overdo it as you can cause unnecessary trauma. If you wish to keep the tree happy and healthy that is. Otherwise, you can trim away as much as you’d like, but the tree will not last very long if you trim back more than is recommended.  


Pruning Mature Flowering Cherry Trees In Australia 

Once a tree is at least three years old it is considered a mature tree. This is the time to promote outward growth by pruning out new vertical limbs. Here are some important tips to remember when pruning old cherry trees:   

  • You will want loppers or proper pruning saws, as opposed to shears.  
  • Again, don’t forget to sterilize the tools before use!  
  • Also, get rid of any diseased or dead limbs.  
  • Cut back suckers to the base of the tree.  
  • Remove crossed branches.  
  • Cover all cuts with sealant thus fending off disease.  
  • Always remember that cherry tree pruning is about creating balance.  


Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information here? Would you prefer a tree pruning expert to take care of this instead? In that case, find a reputable tree pruning specialist like AB Trees and you can relax.  

Pruning cherries - how and when to prune cherries

Cherries, like other fruit trees, need adequate support for healthy growth. If you don't take proper care of your cherry tree, it will quickly fall into disrepair. This will encourage less fruiting. Therefore, it is important to prune regularly to encourage proper growth and a rich harvest.

Why prune cherries

Regulation of shoots and branches not only affects the appearance of the tree, but also increases the exposure of all parts of the plant to sunlight. As a result, during the flowering period, many flowers appear, and later fruits. If you're still wondering why prune cherries, perhaps this will convince you that by doing so, you will carefully check the health of the shrub.

By selecting healthy and damaged shoots, you give the plant the opportunity for strong growth. You will also make room for young shoots. By adjusting the density of the crown, you will also make the tree more aesthetic. Overgrown branches cause great harm. They weaken the plant, and the kidneys have no chance of full development.

How and when to prune cherries

You already know that it is worth a little work on the appearance of your tree and carry out the necessary gardening work, even when you are not a gardener and you have only single specimens planted.

Cherry tree crown formation can be carried out in spring if the tree was planted in autumn. The first pruning will give the shoots the right direction of growth and strengthen the plant. Do the work on a dry sunny day.

Cuts should have a chance to heal. Rain and contact with water will slow down this process, which may adversely affect the subsequent fruiting of the plant. Contact with water also increases the risk of various diseases and fungal infections.

Another good time to prune cherries is right after the summer harvest. The weeks between mid-July and mid-August is the time when the tree has already brought fruit, so you can start trimming the branches.

Prepare a sharp pruner for this, because in addition to young shoots, you will also be dealing with strong and thick parts. Cutting old branches is a good breeding opportunity. Remove all dry, broken fragments and those shoots that do not bear fruit. This maintenance, done after the end of the fruiting season, will prepare the tree for winter and the next spring flowering period.

I wonder what about the other branches? They should also be shortened to form the crown of the cherry and prevent its unwanted upward growth. Trim to about the length of the largest shoots. To do this, position the tool at an angle.

The clue may be the direction in which the buds grow. If you do not know how to prune a tree, divide the work into stages and check the effect you achieve after each of them.

Cherry pruning at various stages of growth

Caring for fruit trees is not difficult, but in order to do it right, you need to have some knowledge about it. Pruning rules will be slightly different depending on whether you are dealing with a young plant immediately after planting or with an old tree. Read our tips and you will know how to do it right.

Pruning cherries after planting

Right after you have planted a young seedling, it's time to start shaping its crown. The plant is not yet tall and its shoots are quite flexible, so the work will not take much time. Decide how you want your cherry to look after a while.

If your garden is short on space, you can shape it into a slender, tall tree. Then you should control side shoots and shorten them regularly. The main, strong branches will act as a guide. Smaller, lateral ones will depart from them. To maintain such a shape, it will be necessary not only to cut the cherry once after planting, but also to regularly level the crown.

Another way is to take the tactic that the tree should be lower but spreading. He needs more space, but it is easier to collect fruits from him. Then you won't need a high ladder and you can reach some of the branches while standing on the ground.

To achieve this effect, cut off the main shoot at a height of 80-100 cm. Later, you will also need to check that it does not rise too much. With this method of shaping, you give more freedom to the side shoots and focus on the top of the plant.

Young Cherry Pruning

A young tree will not have too many broken or diseased branches. However, you still need to take care of it regularly in order to collect a lot of berries later. Young cherry does not require pruning of many branches. When starting this task, check if the plant is growing the way you started to form it. Remove excess side shoots or cut off the top. This is also a good time to check if the tree is healthy. Carefully inspect the leaves and bark. If there is a problem, but you react in time, your cherry will still be able to grow.

Old cherry pruning

The old tree is definitely formed, so this stage of work can be considered completed. However, at least once a year, taking a pruner in your hands is still worth it. It is best to prune old cherries after harvest. Thus, you will prepare the tree for a dormant period, and then for the next flowering and fruiting. While controlling the branches, get rid of those that intersect. Also look inside the crown and remove shoots growing in this direction.

It also makes no sense to keep a very tall tree. Such a plant bends under its own weight, therefore it is more prone to breakage. It is also difficult to pick fruit from its top. Therefore, it makes sense to prune the main branches growing at the very top in order to slow down growth in this area.

Why is it worth pruning fruit trees

Plants that you have in your garden or garden plot should become its decoration. If these are fruit trees or shrubs, you will probably want to harvest a lot from them. By regularly pruning cherries, you will stimulate the plant to bear fruit.

Pruning is also a way to control the height of a tree. You don't always have room to grow large specimens. By controlling the height of the crown and side shoots, you can easily adapt your cherry to the size of the garden. This way you can enjoy having fruits even if you don't have a big garden.

Cherry, left alone, will turn into a wild plant in a short time. It will grow as nature directs it, and strong branches will prevent abundant fruiting. Therefore, when buying a seedling, it is worth inspecting the shoots and branches from the very beginning. By pruning young cherries and then growing old cherries, you have a chance to harvest many berries every year. So take protective gloves, sharp pruners and forward to the garden.

Cherry pruning: 6 rules with photos and diagrams

Cherry tree grows fast. Without regular pruning after planting, it very soon turns into a ball of woven branches. Such a tree grows poorly and bears little fruit. To prevent such problems, regular pruning is needed. Let's figure out when and how to prune cherries and how to take into account the characteristics of berry varieties.

How to prune a cherry tree

Why is it necessary
Timing of the procedure
Principles of pruning
Peculiarities of working with different types of cherries
— Tree
— Bushy
Detailed instructions
— Spring treatment
— Autumn processing

Beginning and sometimes experienced gardeners doubt whether it is possible to cut cherries and why this should be done. We list the most important reasons that prove that the procedure is necessary.

  • Uncontrolled growth of twigs leads to the appearance of a dense crown. It gets little air and light. This dramatically reduces the number of flower buds, and, consequently, the yield.
  • An overgrown crown takes a lot of energy from the tree to form and grow shoots and leaves. The cherry is weakening, the harvest is decreasing.
  • Insect pests settle more often on thickened poorly ventilated branches, pathogenic microflora develops.

Proper pruning prevents all these problems. It has a positive effect on the plant.

What pruning does

  • Increases fruiting, and the berries grow larger.
  • Increases annual growth.
  • All branches receive adequate lighting and ventilation. Among them, there are fewer withering and fading.
  • Kidneys actively form and develop.
  • The tree tolerates winter cold well.
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The crop tolerates pruning relatively easily. It can be done at different times. The best time is the period when there is no active sap flow. This is early spring, when the tree has not yet begun to grow, and autumn, when the plant hibernates before the cold. Spring pruning - sanitary and shaping. She is the main character of the season. It is carried out when the kidneys woke up and began to swell. In this phase, it is easy to distinguish a live branch from a dead one.

Summer pruning of cherries is possible for adult strong specimens after fruiting has ended. But even for them it is undesirable, if possible it is avoided. The active movement of the juices will not allow the wounds to heal quickly. They will drag on for a long time, which adversely affects the condition of the tree. The summer procedure involves only cutting out broken or diseased branches. The rest is left until autumn.

If the cherry trees are pruned well in spring, there will be almost nothing to do in autumn. It remains only to remove the dead and broken branches. If the crown was not formed in the spring, they do it in the fall. You can cut cherries even in winter, but at a temperature not lower than -8˚С. A sleeping tree will transfer the procedure easily, because sap flow is completely absent.

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Only two steps are used to prune a crop. Let's briefly describe both.

  • Shortening or trimming. With it, the upper part of the shoot is cut off. They do this to accelerate the growth of new shoots and activate the buds that are located below the cut line. On a cherry tree, branches longer than 0.4 m are usually cut. At the same time, pruning can be strong when half of the grown growth is removed, medium - a third of the growth is removed, or weak. In the latter case, a quarter is cut off.
  • Thinning. The branch is cut off entirely, to the base. This is how weak, diseased or thickening crown shoots are removed. Its removal improves the flow of air and light to the remaining growth.

Branches can be trimmed in different ways. Let's analyze the basic techniques for performing a cut.

  • Shortening by translation. Used for twigs. Leave only one branch from the fork. Usually, this is an external branching. The second branch is cut off.
  • Lateral branching. Cut off a thick branch-base. Leave a strong side branch.
  • On the ring. The branch is cut to its base.
  • On the kidney. An oblique cut is made just above the bud, from which they plan to grow a new shoot.

An important point: all sections are immediately smeared with garden pitch or similar. This will help the plant recover and prevent infection.

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Different types of trees are pruned differently. Let us briefly characterize the features of such pruning.

Tree-like varieties

The tree-like group includes large sprawling trees with a high trunk. They are characterized by the formation of ovaries on the branches of a bouquet type. Therefore, the main purpose of pruning is to stimulate the growth of fruit-bearing areas. Carry out such procedures.

  • Remove all small branches on the ring conductor. This strengthens the skeletal branches.
  • Long branches are shortened "for branching" or "for a kidney". Too short shoots up to 200 mm long are not cut.
  • Remove forks. Cut off shoots for branching, remove shoots that are directed upwards or along the trunk.

Bushy varieties

Plants of the bushy group are compact, with a low stem. Fruits are formed on annual shoots. Therefore, you need to activate their growth. Conduct the following activities.

  • Branches with exposed ends are trimmed by a third. If this is a skeletal branch, it is cut at the level of the lateral branch directed upwards.
  • Cut shoots that have reached a length of 45-55 cm. This enhances branching.
  • Do not cut "on the ring", it is better to use the "side fork" technique.
  • Annual growths cannot be cut. Otherwise, the branch after fruiting may die.

How to prune cherries in spring

Sanitary pruning is carried out: all dried, broken and diseased branches are cut out. After proceed to the formation of the crown. Usually it is formed in tiers. This means that the branches are left only at the tier levels. The rest is removed. The average distance from the soil level to the lower tier is 85-100 cm. The gap between the first and second levels is 45-50 cm, and between the subsequent ones is 35-40 cm. We have prepared instructions on how to properly form tiers.

  1. Completely remove the shoots on the trunk between the first tier and ground level.
  2. Cut off any branches that grow between levels.
  3. Form a tier. To do this, cut out all the extra branches inside it. There should be no more than four or six of them, the strongest and most viable. The distance between them is not less than 12-15 cm.
  4. Clear the levels-tiers of unnecessary branches. This growth, which is located near the skeletal branches, often duplicates them. It is not recommended to shorten it, it is cut off “on the ring”.
  5. Trim the annual growth. On skeletal branches, it can reach a meter per year. This is too much, because the root system does not have time to grow so quickly, which affects the nutrition of the tree. Remove a third of the growth that has appeared. But if the branches have grown too large, you can cut off half.
  6. Treat sections with disinfectant.

Spring cutting can be completed by shortening the center conductor. Then the crown will "open" and form in the form of a bowl. This is done if they want to stimulate the growth of another level-tier or if they need to slow down the growth of a tree. The bowl-shaped crown is optimal for a tree growing in the shade. In all other cases, it is not necessary to cut the conductor. It is enough to shorten its growth a little.

How to properly prune cherries in autumn

On the eve of wintering, sanitary pruning is carried out on cherries. Do it like this.

  1. Cut out any diseased, dead or broken branches.
  2. Cut the shoots pointing inwards.
  3. Remove all growth on the trunk below the first tier.
  4. Cut out the young intertwined thickened shoots.

If no shaping pruning was done in spring, it should be done in autumn.

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It is done in the spring, at the same time as pruning. For tree-like varieties, the signal for the need for the procedure is the exposure of the base of the skeletal branches and a decrease in growth to 12-15 cm. The branches are shortened to four-year-old wood. It happens that the whole escape is already exposed. It is cut to a five-year-old wood for lateral branching. Bushy varieties rejuvenate with strong exposure of twigs and growth retardation. Branches are cut to three-year-old wood. Cut into lateral branching.

Rejuvenation is carried out regularly. Every year, part of the branches are processed. If such procedures have not been carried out and the cherry is too overgrown, the anti-aging pruning is divided into stages, carried out for several years. A single-stage procedure is too traumatic, the plant may not survive. In general, you can’t remove more than a meter of branch length, this is a big stress for the tree. For the same reason, you can not cut all the branches. Part must be left so that the branch is not bare.

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